COLUMBIA — With one game left to go in the regular season and a 20-4 record, the Rock Bridge boys basketball team doesn't plan on letting up before the district tournament.
The Bruins have won four of the past five district tournaments, winning three in a row between 2007 and 2009 and again in 2011 after a 2010 loss to Holt High School.
Heading into Friday night's home game against Helias Catholic High School, the Bruins are ranked sixth in the state by mosports.rivals.com, which is the same position they started at in the preseason polls. The Bruins have clinched the No. 1 seed for the Class 5, District 9 basketball tournament and have a first-round bye.
Senior guard Corey Haith, who returned to practice this week for the first time since breaking his right hand four weeks ago, said the team has high aims for the district tournament.
"Anything less than a championship is a failure for us," said Haith, the son of Missouri men's basketball coach Frank Haith. "So Friday is just a game for us to get together and finally play a game with the whole team and enjoy our senior night."
Friday's game will be the first time that the Bruins' entire varsity roster has been healthy since the fourth game of the season, when junior guard Travis Jorgenson broke his thumb against Elsberry High School.
In the district tournament, Rock Bridge will play either Smith-Cotton or Washington high schools in the second round on Wednesday. Both teams have losing records.
The Bruins faced Smith-Cotton once during the regular season, routing the Tigers 87-36 in the Smith-Cotton Tournament semifinals. Rock Bridge went on to win the tournament against Branson High School.
Although the outcome of Friday's game against Helias Catholic won't affect Rock Bridge's district rank or first-round bye, Bruins coach Jim Scanlon said he still wants the team to focus on getting better as they head to the tournament.
"It's senior night, and we want to win our last home game," Scanlon said. "We'll try to get better for that game, then we'll work on districts over the weekend."